Crypto In The Line Of Fire As Canada Authorizes Emergency Rules To Stifle Protestors

Crypto In The Line Of Fire As Canada Authorizes Emergency Rules To Stifle Protestors

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The Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has invoked the 1988 Emergencies Act in an attempt to rein in the situation with the protesting truck drivers that have crippled cross-border transportation between Canada and the United States. 

The act was invoked by the Canadian government, which is attempting to cut off the protestors’ line of funding, including through crypto. 

Expanding The Scope Of Terrorist Financing Rules 

The Emergencies Act gives Prime Minister Trudeau the authority to freeze bank accounts of the protestors from the Freedom Convoy protests. The government will also be able to monitor bank accounts linked to the protestors and also track large transactions or transactions that the financial authorities deem suspicious. 

Chrystia Freeland, Deputy Prime Minister, elaborated on the broadening of the scope of the act, stating, 

“We are broadening the scope of Canada’s anti-money laundering and anti-terrorist financial rules, so they cover crowdfunding platforms and the payment providers they use.”

The Deputy Prime Minister, who also holds the position of Finance Minister, stated that the actions would also include cryptocurrencies, along with payment service providers and crowdfunding platforms used by the protestors. 

Funding Protests Through Crypto 

So far, the protestors have accumulated around $19 million through different fundraising platforms such as GiveSendGo and GoFundMe. However, these funds have been blocked, leaving the protestors no way of accessing them. This has led to the convoy turning to Bitcoin to try and raise funds. 

The HonkHonk Hodl group has already raised 22 BTC, valued at around $1 million through the Tallycoin BTC fundraising platform. The page was shut down in February after it reached its target goal, with the funds now expected to be distributed to the protestors. 

Crowdfunding Platforms Cooperating With The Government 

The crowdfunding platform GoFundMe has been cooperating with government officials and has refunded the donors. However, GiveSendGo ran into complications after experiencing a leak that exposed the names of individuals who had donated to the Freedom Convoy. 

Michael Thalen, a writer from the Daily Dot, posted about the leak on his Twitter handle, tweeting,

“A file allegedly containing tens of thousands of names of those who donated to the Freedom Convoy has also been leaked. Working to verify further details.”

So far, it has not been established how exactly and which payments would be blocked, with crowdfunding platforms only required to report any large or suspicious transaction to Fintrac (The Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada.)

Prime Minister Overstepping His Authority? 

According to BBC News, Francois Legault, the Quebec Premier, has stated that the invoking of the Emergencies Act could end up making the situation worse. However, the Prime Minister assuaged such fears stating that the act would be applied in a highly specific manner and only temporarily. 

However, the Canadian Civil Liberties Association has come down heavily on the Prime Minister, stating that the Prime Minister had overstepped his authority. It released the following statement, 

“The federal government has not met the threshold necessary to invoke the Emergencies Act. This law creates a high and clear standard for good reason: the Act allows the government to bypass ordinary democratic processes. This standard has not been met.”

An Argument For Crypto? 

Supporters of cryptocurrencies and Bitcoin have seized the events playing out in Canada as an argument for crypto, with supporters pointing out that crypto is harder to shut down because it is decentralized. Individuals such as Neeraj Agarwal from Coin Center tweeted sarcastically, 

“Oh no, please don’t expose how easily the state can lean on financial intermediaries [to] cut off political protest fundraising.”

Meanwhile, outspoken Bitcoin supporter Nayib Bukele stated also waded into the matter, tweeting, 

“Are these the people who like to give lessons to other countries about democracy and freedom? This is one of the top-ranking countries in the “democracy index”? Your credibility on these topics is now worth 0.”

Disclaimer: This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not offered or intended to be used as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.

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